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Supervisor, sportsman passes / October 21, 2020
Lee Orell Lenhart Sr. served citizens of Mecklenburg County for nearly 40 years as the county’s building inspector and later as a member of the Mecklenburg County Board of Supervisors.

The Chase City resident passed away Monday, Oct. 12 at the age of 87.

Lenhart was first elected to the Board of Supervisors in 1999 after spending 25 years as county building inspector. When he left the board at the end of his third term in 2011, he said, “I ran for the post because I thought I might make a difference. I hope I made a difference, I’m not sure.”

During his 12-year tenure, Lenhart filled various roles on the Board of Supervisors, including one year as vice chairman. He also served on the budget, property, personnel, and landfill committees and as the board’s representative to the Mecklenburg County Planning Commission.

One of Lenhart’s many accomplishments as a supervisor was to move the county away from unsightly roadside trash bins to manned recycling and solid waste drop-off sites such as the one located on Highway 58 across from Park View High School.

In 2009, Lenhart was honored with a longevity award from the Virginia Association of Counties for his outstanding service to Mecklenburg and the commonwealth.

County Administrator Wayne Carter, who worked with and for Lenhart as planning administrator, assistant county administrator and county administrator, remembered Lenhart as “a great person to work with and a great county employee who cared about the people of the County.”

Lenhart was also a champion sport shooter who was instrumental in bringing many new shooters into the sport, including Mattison Russell of Baskerville, who at 17 is a world-class sport shooter, having won the Junior World Junior Ladies Championship and the 2018 World Championship in 12, 20 and 410-gauge shotguns for trap, skeet and sporting clays.

Mattison’s father, Charles Russell, said he was thankful that he and Mattison were able to pay a last visit to Lenhart on Sunday, Oct. 11 as they were returning from a competition.

At one memorable Sportsmen Expo for Life event in Red Oak in 2015, Lenhart spent several hours at the shooting range helping young sport shooters hone their skills.

In addition to being a founding member of Arrowhead Gun Club, Lenhart was the past president for the Virginia Skeet Shooting Association and was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2008. He was also named Sportsman of the Year by the VSSA in 1995.

Hearing of his passing, the officers, and staff of the VSSA posted a message on their webpage. “[We] are very saddened to share the passing of Orell Lenhart.”

Lenhart was born May 14, 1933 in Chase City to the Claude Lee Lenhart and the late Della Champion Lenhart.

He was a United States National Guard veteran and a member of Friendship United Methodist Church in Chase City. Graveside services were held Thursday, Oct. 15 at Friendship United Methodist Church Cemetery.

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